Tuesday night I got the chance of a lifetime. I attended President Obama's farewell speech here in Chicago. It was an extraordinary night that I'm still processing. By the end of the night I had been standing well over 8 hours, all completely worth it to witness history. Eddie Vedder gave a powerful pre-speech performance with a Chicago choir. It was also interesting to see folks like Bill Nye, Jesse Jackson, and Anderson Cooper walking around. It was a bittersweet evening that I won't forget.
I don't think President Obama was perfect, as no president is - but I do think he is going to be a president that is talked about in the same way we talk about Kennedy and Lincoln. For me he is really the first president that has had a major impact on my life in a positive way. I became of age and political understanding under the Bush administration. Obama was the first current president that has ever inspired me to get involved in the process.
Watching Obama and Biden walk off the stage for the very last time Tuesday night I was unable to hold back the tears. It truly felt like a light was being extinguished. I had to remind myself of President Obama's message of hope that he so eloquently conveyed in his speech. Despite my sadness I know there is still so much work to be done. It's up to us now.
"It falls to each of us to be those those anxious, jealous guardians of our democracy; to embrace the joyous task we've been given to continually try to improve this great nation of ours. Because for all our outward differences, we, in fact, all share the same proud title, the most important office in a democracy: Citizen.
So, you see, that's what our democracy demands. It needs you. Not just when there's an election, not just when your own narrow interest is at stake, but over the full span of a lifetime. If you're tired of arguing with strangers on the Internet, try talking with one of them in real life. If something needs fixing, then lace up your shoes and do some organizing. If you're disappointed by your elected officials, grab a clipboard, get some signatures, and run for office yourself. Show up. Dive in. Stay at it."
Thank you President Obama.